FOR SALE : Rancho Encantado is without question the pinnacle of all South Texas native whitetail hunting ranches. Not only is it located in the heart of the famed Golden Triangle, but it’s perfectly positioned in one of the extremely rare pockets in the Golden Triangle that’s home to superior whitetail genetics that simply outperform others. Rancho Encantado has a long-standing history of producing native trophy deer since the 1940s. In fact, 14 of these remarkable deer can be found in the book "Big Rack IV: Texas Whitetail Record Book" by John Stein.
More than 27 years ago, George Light III sold this ranch to the current owner, Jack Brittingham, after 63 years of proud ownership. The 14 aforementioned extraordinary whitetail were produced during Mr. Light’s ownership of the ranch. That means there were excellent genetics present well before Mr. Brittingham instituted his highly-successful management plan, which leveraged the lineage of this impressive native herd in a way that now produces even more superior bucks than ever before.
Never has an outside deer been introduced to this deer herd, and preserving the native genetics in the herd was Mr. Brittingham’s top priority when he assumed ownership of Rancho Encantado. It has become almost impossible to find a trophy ranch in South Texas where the genetics of the deer haven't been manipulated. While trophy deer may come in a variety of forms, the deer on this ranch are set apart thanks to the unwavering commitment by Mr. Brittingham to preserve a 100 percent native genetics deer herd—and that makes this property sale an extremely rare and special opportunity for a buyer.
What's being offered for sale?
This offering is unlike most any other in North America. The owner is offering up to three different 25% ownership interests in the ranch. Each 25% interest has a list price of $4,465,000.00. This is the perfect arrangement for the busy but avid hunter… for someone who doesn't have the time or desire to maintain and run a ranch of this size and caliber, but who has every interest in enjoying the luxuries and superior hunts that this ownership scenario affords them. As we all know, most ranch owners don't spend 100% of their time at their ranch, so why not own and hunt a 5,250± acre ranch for a fraction of the cost?
It's obvious that the deer hunting is second to none, but what is it that makes this land so well-suited for growing and sustaining these monster bucks? The answer is simple...the soil. Rancho Encantado is composed mostly of red sandy loam soils. These soils are able to produce a large variety of protein-rich plant species (Coma, Granjeno, Kidney Wood, etc.). Very little chaining has been done on the ranch. Additionally, the brush is native (not regrowth) and ranges in size from fully mature to small new growth. You can find a variety of brush species at various stages, all in the same mot, from one end of the ranch to the other. This, combined with strict management and timely supplemental feeding, has allowed the deer on Rancho Encantado to thrive. In order to maintain proper habitat management, a solid grazing component is required. To achieve this, the owner introduced and has grown a great herd of African Sable on the ranch.
Equally as important to the health of the wildlife is water. Rancho Encantado has a total of 8 Carrizo Aquifer water wells, most of which are tied into a complex but very necessary 6-inch water line system. Large quantities of water can be moved around the ranch effectively and at any time of the year. This water system not only provides the wildlife watering opportunities throughout the property, it also provides the ability to flood the 5 duck marshes located around the ranch.
Rancho Encantado has been producing Boone and Crockett whitetails since the 1940s. This data is notable because it predates any kind of management practices that are primarily responsible for the trophy whitetail being produced today. These records speak to the outstanding baseline genetics that have been so meticulously managed for the last 27 years. The combination of this superior foundation and strict management have created what is now THE BEST native whitetail ranch in the state, and some would argue in North America. Every year this ranch produces larger deer than the year prior. The owner understands that at some point the ranch may peak or plateau, but he has yet to see that happen.
South Texas is primarily known for producing excellent whitetail deer, so it comes as an extremely pleasant surprise to learn about the outstanding the duck hunting available here at Rancho Encantado. Five marshes are planted with Japanese Millet each August, and the intricate water system throughout the ranch allows for timely watering and flooding of these marshes. Each marsh has been carefully designed and set up with blinds to allow for an unforgettable duck hunting experience like no other in South Texas.
An African sable herd was initially brought into the ranch for proper habitat management. The current owner removed the cattle that previously grazed on the ranch and also removed the interior fences, which left a void in the essential grazing component of the habitat management system. The sable herd is currently comprised of 75-80 sable with the intent of growing it to approximately 100. And the genetics in this herd are OUTSTANDING! In fact, the ranch has produced the #1, #2 and #4 non-African continent sables in North America. This species of antelope are a great addition to the ranch for a number of reasons. They add a critical grazing component to the property yet do not compete with the whitetail herd for their food source. And the sable have also produced a large income stream for the ranch.
Between 50 and 100 African warthogs inhabit the ranch, including a sizable number in the breeding program. Interestingly enough, this herd was acquired from Walt Disney World in Florida. Warthogs, unlike feral hogs, cannot reproduce until the age of two, and their litters are typically limited to four piglets. So in the words of the Disney character Pumbaa, "Hakuna Matata” (No worries)! Thanks to these factors, the warthog population is much easier to manage than feral hogs. Additionally, the warthogs aren’t nocturnal like feral hogs tend to be, which makes them easier to hunt during the day.
Rancho Encantado is perfectly suited to host intimate family get-togethers or grand corporate-style events. The 7,500 square foot main lodge has been designed in such a way that small or large gatherings can be accommodated with ease. From casual dining to extensive meal prep for more formal meals, this kitchen has everything you’ll need. Upon entering the large great room, your eyes are immediately drawn to the grand fireplace in the center of the room. This room is furnished with ample seating and marked by a luxury ranch style that all your guests will enjoy. The great room also opens up to a formal dining area and large bar. The main lodge is more than sufficient for accommodating overnight guests, with a total of 7 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms. Additionally, the property is home to a spacious ranch manager's home, accommodating hunter's cabin, and the unique and creative use of a train car, dubbed the "Caboose Cabin," that serves as additional sleeping quarters for guests. The caboose on the railroad track is the last remaining feature that was present on the ranch during George Light III's cattle operation, which pays tribute to the rich history of this land.
The runway on the ranch is approximately 4,000 feet long, 2,000 of which are paved. The runway could easily be extended to 5,000 feet. Adjacent to the runway is a large metal building/airplane hangar as well as a covered metal barn with silos, a work area and grain truck storage.
In addition to the improvements already mentioned, miles upon miles of EXCELLENT caliche base roads provide access to all parts of the ranch. Additionally, numerous secondary roads can be found throughout the property that lead to the various blinds and feeders.
[Regarding mineral rights, the current owner of the property owns a portion of the rights, but those will not be conveyed with the sale. All oil and gas exploration has ceased on the ranch, and any continued oil field traffic is minimal.]